Estimating the cost and delivery window of a standard development project is pretty streamlined. There’s little ambiguity to account for, and any skilled project manager or product owner can accurately estimate the time, labor, skill, and money required. But this accuracy can take a dip when dealing with artificial intelligence projects and machine learning systems. AI and ML contain many variables and inherent complexities that can make the exercise of cost estimation significantly harder. One of the most crucial factors impacting underlying costs is hiring talent.
Here are all the details about hiring AI and ML developers that you’ll require to size up costs with greater accuracy.
What is Artificial Intelligence?
In the simplest terms, artificial intelligence is a collection of systems and processes designed to mimic human intelligence. These systems can learn from data, improve themselves, and make logical decisions to support businesses.
What is Machine Learning?
Often clubbed with AI, machine learning is a subset of AI that allows software applications to become more accurate at predicting outcomes without needing any explicit programming. They basically convert historical data into new outputs that can help shape the future.
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Factors that Can Potentially Affect AI/Ml Developers Hiring Costs
Here is a rundown of all the major factors to impact AI and ML hiring costs.
Project size and scale
There’s no cookie-cutter fixed scale to deal with artificial intelligence and machine learning projects. Each project is unique and has its own essential features and business-critical requirements. The size of the project and the functions it will perform will largely dictate the associated costs.
The scale of the project will determine the following:
- The features it needs to have
- The complexity of those features
- The skill level required to develop those features
- The number of developers needed to achieve the target
- The engagement model with the developers
Small-scale AI projects
Smaller-scale projects usually work with minimal features, little third-party integration, fewer developers, basic developer engagement, and faster release time.
If your project is to be deployed on a smaller scale, you’ll only require one AI expert and one QA expert to build the project, and the associated costs will be much lower.
Mid-sized AI projects
While most Mid-sized AI projects begin as small-scale ones, they require additional features that warrant development time and multiple AI technology developers. Features such as AI voice assistants and AI chatbots come under this category. Hiring costs will scale up as more features are added to the list.
Enterprise-grade AI projects
When dealing with enterprise-scale AI solutions, you can opt for pre-built solutions or customized ones. While pre-built solutions are cheaper, ranging between $99 to $1500, they offer minimal customizability and augmentation support, making them incompatible with companies that require specific features.
In that case, companies need to take the second route and have a custom solution built to their specifications. For that, you’ll need to hire an entire team of dedicated developers, analysts, project managers, QA specialists, and other IT talent to deliver the project. While costs will be higher, the quality of the delivered project will never be in question. It’s best to partner with an IT services company to not only guide you but also give you access to the right AI and ML talent at competitive costs.
Required business functionalities and their complexities
Apart from the size of the project, another impactful factor is the number and nature of features required. Even a small-scale solution with complex features will cost a lot more. These features can be drawn directly from the business requirements document and aligned with the software’s goals and expected performance.
How these features interact and integrate with your underlying software will play a role too. All of this makes development more complicated, requiring better-skilled developers who’ll charge more.
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How to Hire AI/Ml Developers?
Now that we’ve listed all the factors to consider while estimating costs, let’s get to the hiring part. In order to minimize costs and maximize returns, you’ll need to ensure that you hire developers with the caliber to match the scale and complexity of your project. Here’s how to do that.
Document your requirements
The first step is to understand what your project needs to look like. To do so, you’ll need answers to these critical questions.
- What data are you going to use for training the model?
- What should the output look like?
- How will you gauge the quality of the model?
- What level of accuracy is required for your project?
- How will you ensure that the input is connected to the output?
- In which areas and departments will the solution be deployed?
- Which underlying systems will be integrated with the model?
The scope of your project will directly influence the type and level of developers you need to hire. By answering the questions given above, you will also zero in on your scope and will be able to measure your talent and skill requirements.
Developer skill level
Broadly, the skill set of developers can be categorized into two parts:
- Basic skills – Developers with basic skills are well-suited for small projects with fewer features. For instance, a chatbot to perform basic customer service for your website can be built by developers with lesser expertise. Hiring them full-time can cost anywhere between $50k to $128k, and hiring them remotely can cost $50 to $100 per hour. The remote location of the developer will also affect the pay scale.
- Advanced skills – You’ll need an entire team of highly skilled developers and QA specialists for complex medium and enterprise-grade projects. Similar to basic developers, the cost of remotely hiring highly skilled ones also differed from region to region. While developers in the US and Canada charge between $80 and $200 per hour, those charges can rise to $300 per hour in the UK, while getting low between $50 and $150 per hour at offshore software development outsourcing locations like India, Philippines, etc.
It’s only possible to get an exact cost estimate by first critically analyzing the project’s requirements, size, and scope. But that is easier said than done. In a watertight market where you can afford no mistakes, you’ll need all the expert help you can get. At VLink, our AI and ML development services will empower you with the information you need to make the right decisions regarding your AI project. Moreover, VLink also offers IT staff augmentation and dedicated development team-building services to connect you to the talent you require at affordable costs. Connect with us today to learn how VLink’s services can make your AI project a reality without breaking the bank.